My mother always told me that if you just sit back and let some people do their thing long enough, that they will eventually trap themselves in all of the many words that they have used in the past.
Although it has probably become pretty obvious to you that I am not necessarily the “sit back type”, I also am not one to ignore the words of others. Other peoples’ thoughts, comments, and perspectives provide me the impetus to think critically and help create my own opinions and generate original thought.
Never one shy for the spotlight, one of the greatest things about Lee Fowler’s “leadership” at NC State is that he has never failed to give usmany, many words to evaluate. Usually, Fowler’s words are generally consistent and typically follow one of the following overall themes:
* Herb Sendek is great guy with great character
* Herb Sendek is highly respected by people in college basketball
* Herb Sendek will succeed
* Herb Sendek has been a great coach in the three years that he has coached at NC State
* Herb Sendek was Coach of the Year last year in the ACC
* The fiive years of your life from 1996-2001 simply did not happen since Lee Fowler didn’t live in Raleigh at the time.
* Lee Fowler doesn’t want (insert current or potential SEC or Ohio State) Athletics Director job that he has not yet withdrawn his name from consideration…and, of course…
* Lee Fowler “knows basketball”. (Fantastically, today we learned that Lee Fowler also “knows business” despite the fact that he has never worked outside of College Athletics.)
Today, some of Fowler’s past words are starting to close on him and are creating a difficult situation for a guy that loves to be right. (Heck, he probably loves to be right almost as much as he loves making his high salary that he will gladly share with you without you asking). Problem for Lee is that he can’t be “right” about something at the same time that he is admitting that he was wrong about it. And today, Fowler admitted that a past proclamation about Herb Sendek was incorrect. (Stop the presses. News at 11) —
In an interesting article in today’s Charlotte Observer (that is deserving of about a dozen different entries on StatefansNation), NC State Athletics Diector, Lee Fowler was quoted as admitting that:
“Herb has had a tough year,”
In its own right, that admission seems pretty fair, honest, and accurate. No problems there. I think most people appreciate candor. The problem for Fowler is that his admission today works in direct contradiction with much of the snake oil that he tried to sell in the past.
It was only four years ago that NC State’s Basketball program was facing similar debate as it is today as fans were exhausted in the wake of Herb Sendek’s failure to finish in the top half of the ACC or earn an NCAA Torunament berth four previous seasons before a fifth season that had turned disasterous.
Lee Fowler had been on the job for approximately 5 to 6 months and was determined to set the all-time NCAA record for career quotes given by an Athletics Director. In the midst of his Public Relations tour, Fowler chose to make a decision that had NEVER sucessfully been made in the history of major college basketball when he retained a coach that had not advanced to an NCAA Tournament or been impacted by NCAA probation in a consecutive five year period. (More on this interesting and unprecendented issue in the future).
So, on January 13, 2001, Charlotte Observer’s Gregg Doyel penned an article “Wolfpack Must Crawl Out of Hole”. (Does that one sound familiar?). In the article, Lee Fowler proclaimed to the world:
“I’m not saying I don’t care what (outspoken fans) think, but I’ve got a background in basketball, and you hear things about everybody. “The one thing I ask (of) Wolfpack fans is support your coach. Fans want a national championship. The way Herb’s doing things, when we do get there – and I don’t think it’s far away – it will stay there.
Hmmmmm…let’s replay these events in summary form:
* 4 years ago Fowler proclaimed that his opinion is that Herb Sendek will be successful as Basketball Coach of NC State. Although never offering a criteria or measurement used to define success, Fowler states that “once we have success, we will stay there for a long time.”
* 3 years pass where NC State’s earns NCAA Tournament berths and achieves some success…the levels of which are debateable (In 2 of the 3 seasons State entered the ACC Tournament in need of a victory just to qualify for the NCAA). During these three years, Fowler gleefully proclaims to the world how good of a coach Sendek is and not to forget that Fowler made the decision to keep him. Fowler goes so far as to reply to old emails that some NC State supporters had sent him years earlier attaching sarcastic comments wondering if the fan still felt that Herb was the wrong guy for the job?
* In a cruel twist of fate for Mr. I Told You So…NC State’s current basketball team is ranked #85 in the RPI as the 6th place team in the state of North Carolina (40+ spots behind Davidson). Today, Fowler admits that “Herb has had a tough year” despite having previously told the world that “once we have success that we will stay there.”
Unless Fowler defines “long time” as “1 year”, I think that we’ve got a big ooooops on our hands.
What’s the real deal, Fowler?
YOU SAID that “it wouldn’t be long.” YOU SAID that we were going to “stay there for a long time.”
YOUR comments and actions over the last few years clearly indicate that your opinion was that had “gotten there”. Have the last 3 years really been some glorious ‘top’ that we was “not that far away”?
Fess up, Fowler…How friggin far is ‘far’? How long of a time is a ‘long time’? And exactly where is ‘there’ that we are trying to reach. Because it certainly isn’t “National Championships” that you alluded to FOUR YEARS AGO in your comments.
At some point in the future…does anyone at NC State think that us as fans…you know, those of us who mysteriously lose half-decades of our lives (and financial contributions) in the snap of Lee Fowlers fingers…could be entitled to just a little bit of definition and clarity on some of this stuff?
To be fair…one has to be somewhat sympathetic for Fowler. I mean, who in the world could have ever foreseen this year’s events? It isn’t like Sendek has ever struggled in his three regular seasons at State before! (What is history good for, anyway?)
If only those “50 crazys on the internet” that actually realize that Herb Sendek had been coaching at State for NINE YEARS instead of just three, then Fowler would be home free!!! (I guess if you find a way to achieve the super human and completely ignore five years of life on this planet, then you can convince yourself of about anything.)
Come to think of it…Lee Fowler made his original comment about “staying at the top once we get there” in January 2001. With that in mind, we have to ask if Fowler really made the statement at all? I guess in his mind it doesn’t count since it was made prior to the 2001-2002 season (when life as we know it began).
See…Lee “I Know Basketball AND Business” Fowler wasn’t wrong at all. But, somehow you probably already knew that. I’m sure that he did.
(See you all later…I am off to Happy Hour to find a wife!! Evidentally, I never have really met the woman to which I am supposedly married since it happened in the “mystery years” prior to Lee Fowler’s move to Raleigh.)